Tuesday, December 31, 2013
NOTED SONGS OF 2013
At the end of each year I reduce my latest twelve months experience of music-mania down to little lists. It is a compulsion that has stayed with me for close to a decade now. Every year, I am forced to reconsider what kind of format or stance I should take with these things. It used to be that I would choose ten records of new music released within the just passed year and ascribe an order to them. This occurs to me now as an entirely silly way of doing things...
In recent years my tastes have been divided into two parts. One list for songs, one for albums - neither in any particular order. I think in the future this process may open up further as I become older and even more selective. I may choose to whittle it down to cultural experiences more broadly, and to music from past eras unissued in recent years but discovered recently... who knows. There's something to be said for trying to engage in the cultural present. I do my best.
These lists are always a struggle, but a pleasurable one. I enjoy boiling it down to what feels most essential to me now. With that in mind, another list of my favourite songs encountered (and mostly made) in 2013.
I'll have a list for albums sometime early in the new year.
NOTED SONGS OF 2013 (IN NO CERTAIN ORDER)
Pusha T - 'Numbers On The Board'
There's no particular order to this list, but I'll say it anyway. This is my song of the year. Absurd production. Aggressive minimalism, swagger at eleven. Just a wicked mean single. Whoever truly made this beat (the wikipedia page suggests a swamp of co-writers - Kanye included) is onto something. I only hope they grab more samples off early electronics library LP's and spin them into further crisp terror. This is all of course to say nothing of Push, who comes as close as he ever will here to the demented coke-glee of Fury.
ASAP Rocky - 'Suddenly'
This was my song of the year frontrunner for a while - til I heard 'Numbers' I suppose. I just get so amped on this. Really forward thinking appropriation, with just enough analoguey bloops to really get me hot under the collar. Add a sonar bleep to any track, it immediately becomes 20% more interesting. And the beat, it just floors you when it drops. A totally disappointing album, but a jewel in it's midst in any case.
Dark Chocolate Chips - 'Risque De Choc'
I suppose this is actually a song suite, but the whole thing clocks in around four minutes so I feel as if I can safely file it as a 'song'. Nausea inducing waves of noise broke only by gems in miniature. The cliche would be to say that these fragments might of been stretched into lovely fuller tunes, but the collapsed chaos takes you in on repeat listens. Fatal wisdom in here too, 'It really is a fucking awful world' - true, but good music dulls the pain. DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE!
The Delfonics - 'Stop And Look (And You Have Found Love)'
This was the surprise of the year. Delfonics have been one of my favourite groups the past couple years (and no, I will not be qualifying that with a 'soul' prefix), and to hear a tune capture the mystery and elegance of their early 70's work was entirely a wonderful surprise. Adrian Young is pretty much a god for this, and William still has THAT voice. (SIDE NOTE: how the fuck does this video have only 25,000 hits????!?).
Broadcast - 'The Equestrian Vortex'
Here's hoping there's still more unreleased. I'll take what I can get from one of my favourite bands. It was nice to see a Broadcast record in the 'new releases' section of record stores this year. My favourite moment from a haunting score.
Athanor - 'Graveyard'
A 70's track here, reissued by the godly Guerssen label. Lovely stuff off a comp that got squeezed off my forthcoming favourite albums list.
The Strokes - 'Call It Fate, Call It Karma'
The Strokes are now in the unenviable position of being that underrated overrated band. Or are they overrated underrated? I can't honestly tell, but they did release a pretty great album this year that was not noticed by anyone / noticed by everyone. I still honestly adore them, even if this video is near unforgivable. I like thinking about them spending $50,000 getting a track to sound like it was recorded under a blanket by an earnest R. Stevie Moore.
The Highest Order - 'Cosmic Manipulations'
My girl Simone TB thwacks in this band, so I'm down for the cause. In all honesty, they put in overtime this year with two very nice records. I like LP's with space pictures on the cover, so I'll go with this one. Pretty much the only people doing justice to that cringey Cosmic Country term. This motorik-Gene workout does the trick for me.
Durag Dynasty - 'Fish Meat'
This is actually off a scorcher of an LP. Totally solid stuff. Just got the pick of the litter right here though. Alchemist + 50 Foot Hose + this knucklehead, it's not rocket science... or maybe it is.
Lynn Castle - 'Rose Colored Corner'
I wrote a little bit about my newest celebrity crush earlier in the year. This 45 is just pure magic. I wish there was more, more, more. She's a wonder. The box this comes from is a magic box.
Pusha T feat. Kendrick Lamar - 'Nosetalgia'
Kendrick has become the most fascinating pop figure. So talented, it's actually unreal. He seemed to own the year, without dropping a record or single... The Control feature was explosive, but this here is something else. Dark, spine tingling magical shit. The verse hurts to listen to. Amazing beat. Video of the year too!
As mentioned, an albums list is forthcoming, give it 5 days or so... We'll have 2014 well underway by that point!
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